Author: Janet Gurtler
Page Count: 310
Goodreads Summary & Cover:
She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .My Thoughts:
Samantha is new at school and just recently joined the swim team. She’s been flirting with one of her teammates, Zee, who invites her to a party and just as quickly dumps her for another girl. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss. And he dies—right in her arms. Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party. She didn’t know. Overnight, Samantha turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she will have to find the inner-strength to forgive herself for the tragedy.
My first thought upon reading the synopsis and even starting the book, was, "Holy crap! This COULD happen!!!!" I work in an elementary school and we have quite a few children with nut allergies. Epi-pens are abundant in our building, yet they don't travel to the cafeteria. I have a feeling I'm going to have a discussion with our nurse and principal. Soon!
Now, to the book. I love that Janet Gurtler used the first three chapters to set up the scene. She introduced the main characters, had us at the party, the kiss, and the death. Chapter 4 through the rest of the book was everyone dealing with what happened.
After the death of Alex, Samantha felt so awful. She didn't know him. She turned away from peanut butter and threw away the jar they had. She swore to never eat it again. I was worried that Samantha would be a whiny teenager and get on my nerves. Not the case at all! She felt horrible and guilty, yet at the same time, she punished herself by giving up swimming and trying to stay off the RADAR so people wouldn't have to talk or look at her. I do believe having her Aunt Allie show up and be a part of the story helped tremendously! This book could have gone a little south without her, I think.
Thankfully, Samantha did maintain a friendship with one of the girls on the swim team and she helped her in awkward hallway settings. And then there was Casper -- the smart kid in her English Lit class who grabbed her as a partner in writing an essay. He was friendly with her at school and they even had a little fling. Poor Samantha. Bad choices to make things go away and numb yourself... I understood though. Casper's a jerk. I'll tell y'all that now. Spoiled, rich kid, jerk.
An interesting part about this book, that you pick up from the different supporting characters, is that everyone feels guilty and that it's his or her fault that Alex died. Zee blamed himself because he had been drinking and abandoned Samantha. Chloe, Alex's sister, blames herself because she was mad at Alex and also busy with Casper at the party. Casper should have felt guilty, but he was in Casper World. Jerk! No one really blamed Samantha, except the rest of the school...and herself.
The twist at the end. Wow! WOW! I was so relieved for Samantha.
And Zee? I think I have a crush on you, too.
Relevant and interesting story. I definitely enjoyed Who I Kissed.
Who I Kissed satisfies part of the Standalone Challenge!